Friday, November 8, 2013

Notes from Biking

So, this year I've been biking to class every day.  I want to share some of my struggles and joys.

The biker's shoe: No laces, off the chain.
Baggy pants are also a foul.
I bike for 40 minutes or so one way, using this route (although playing with Google maps just now makes me want to switch to Glendale over Church after Medlock).  It involves a beautiful trail by a creek, complete with graffiti on overgrown ruins and boardwalks overlooking a creek.  So, for much of my route my concern is running over long-leashed dogs, not keeping an eye out for negligent drivers.  At North Decatur and Scott I see the most cars, when I cross both streets at once using the much smaller Medlock Rd.  I have just enough time there during a green light to cross the gigantic intersection, but on the plus side, I cross the two biggest roads of my commute in one go.

I have a one-eared headphone so that I can listen to music or radio without disengaging aurally from my surroundings.  My favorite commutes are usually before 9:00 am so I can catch some NPR programming on 90.5. If I'm too late for that, I'll go for energetic music I know well like Aqualung, Close to the Edge, or Black Holes & Revelations (the albums), occasionally throwing in some Erlkoenig (sung by Thomas Quasthoff).

I was stung by a wasp for the first time on Tuesday 10/29.  I assume it was a wasp not because I saw it but because I saw many wasps near me on my commute after I was stung, one of which crashed into my glasses.  It was a scary day, the first warm one in a while.

The scariest moment of my commutes so far was when I took a sharp corner too quickly on a wet day, and the boardwalk which had just betrayed my tires greeted my already disappointed face.  But wood is pretty bouncy.  I am, too, and only my elbow and my pride were bruised.  After looking around and seeing no one, I decided my reputation for exemplary coordination was safe and continued on my way.

Finally, a word to cars.  I once thought the "give us 3 feet" campaign (not this one) asked too much; I didn't want to slow up traffic because I cannot reach the speed limit.  Now, though, realizing that most roads and traffic situations allow for 3 feet of clearance (if the car allows a few seconds to wait for a break as it would for slow-moving lawn tractors or construction vehicles), I have changed my mind.  For one thing, my left turn signal, my outstretched left arm, is not quite 3 feet long, and it would be tragic to lose a finger because I was signaling a turn.  Second, a luxury request considering my mad MTB bunny-hopping skills, it's nice to have the option to avoid potholes.

So, in sum, I love biking, and I arrive at school invigorated and ready for the day (pending a change of shirt, of course).

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